TAG, you’re it

Yesterday was kind of a big deal, celebrated quietly inside my heart.

It was the 10th anniversary of the day I completed a labor of love that shaped my life in some very good ways.

Three years previous, I was hanging with some pals when I discovered the Library of Congress had next to nothing in its archives about tag.

I blurted:

“The LoC has nothing about TAG? Someone should fix that!”

My pals replied:

“Maybe YOU should fix that!”

I spent the next year-and-a-half creating and evolving a meager entry into Wikipedia. I entered in everything I knew, everything I could find, everything I learned from listening to anyone who would listen and answer my questions about the game.

By 2006 it had quickly grown into an obsession and one of the largest entries on Wikipedia’s platform. When they upgraded their infrastructure after a major fundraiser that year that I lost my efforts. It was as much my fault as theirs. I made no backup of my work, took no screenshots. I was disappointed but that only seemed to make me more determined.

When my pleas to them to help restore what had been lost fell on deaf ears, I decided to take things up a notch.

First, I envisioned a podcast about the game, with special guests talking about the way they played it growing up in their respective parts of the world. Whatever it would be, I committed to making something really great and submitting it myself to the LoC.

Over the next two years I traveled a lot for work and play. I bought a small video camera specifically to capture stories about the game. I collected stories from anyone willing. Next thing I knew, I had over 200 hours of interview footage. I made a podcast from the audio, which inspired a short movie but something very different from the shiny world of advertising I was working in. I wanted it to look and feel as if kids had made it, fumbling with gritty passion, like a core instinct, innate and approachable.

While collecting interview footage, I had a few consistent questions I asked. One was, “How long do you think the average game of Tag lasts?” Almost 3000 people reported an average of 21 minutes, which is exactly how long Tag’s runtime is.

Tag was completed on January 28, 2008, just 3 short years save for one small detail. It still needed to be submitted and accepted into the LoC. It took a few attempts, a few stamps, some trans-mediating it into a few different types of formats (they wouldn’t accept a download at that time), a few months, and a heck ton of persistence.

If you’re hard of hearing, please turn on Closed Captioning by clicking the small CC symbol near the bottom-right-corner of the video and choosing the captions. My apologies they only exist in English at present

TAG, you’re it.